For Immediate Release:
Senate COVID Relief Bill Missing Crucial $3.6 Billion
for State and Local Elections:
Business Leaders Must Join Call for Safe, Accessible Voting
The following statement is from Wendy Fields, Executive Director of the Democracy Initiative. As reported in Politico, election funding is a key issue during negotiations for a new COVID-19 relief bill.
“The HEALS Act introduced this week in the U.S. Senate does nothing to heal our ailing democracy or calm the economic anxiety of the American people. Once again, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has put corporations and wealthy interests before people and protecting our democracy.
“To ensure a safe, reliable, secure and accessible election in November, we must address a desperately underfunded state and local election system and the deliberate slowdown of the U.S. Postal Service.
“The U.S. House took action in May by allocating $3.6 billion to pay for election costs and $25 billion for our public Postal Service, which provides crucial infrastructure for all forms of voting.
“This funding must be included in final COVID-19 relief legislation. Overcrowded, unsafe voting places in November are not acceptable. Disenfranchising an untold number of voters—especially in Black and brown communities—unacceptable. This outcome will not be accidental, but the result of a strategic effort at voter suppression.
“The member organizations of the Democracy Initiative are calling on corporate leaders to use their substantial influence in Congress to win these vital investments in our democracy. They certainly know how to wield influence to protect their bottom line, like the costly, unnecessary protections against business liability for COVID-related lawsuits that were inserted in the Senate bill.
“Our challenge to corporate America: John Lewis was willing to endure savage beatings and risk his life to defend the right to vote. Are you willing to dial your phone?”
The Democracy Initiative is a coalition of 75 organizations with a collective 45 million members fighting for workers, civil rights, social justice and the environment. DI partner organizations are united in their commitment to realizing the promise of American democracy where all people have an equal seat at the governance table.